Shadow Business (On The Run part 3)

Renraku World Headquarters; Chiba, Japan
Moments earlier

Sitting upright in his expensive leather chair, the Japanese man stares at the commlink in front of him. Floating over the table, carved out of the finest woods of this planet, are a dozen windows filled with statistics, numbers and processes, only visible to his image link.

Not one of the images projects an operation, that is completely legal in any business around the globe.

The door to his office slides open, and a young Japanese man enters. He’s dressed in a perfectly tailored suit, every crease in his pants accounted for, the hair systematically arranged down to the last streak hanging over his forehead. His steps are measured, his facial expression calculated. The young man looks professional on every level; perfect and cold.

“Mr. Ineko Sadao,” the young man says calmly, “Our men in Seattle report success. The subject has been captured and will be transported here. As per your request, the subject will be flying with public direct-flight JPN-0014A, scheduled take-off on June 12th, 0700 hours.”

“Excellent. Is the data secured as I asked?” Sadao asks, already knowing the answer.

“Yes, Mr. Ineko Sadao,” answers the suit promptly, “As you requested, the data has been stored on the mainframe C14-1 in our SmartSPACE-devision in the CAS. Any existing copy has been deleted by our best matrix-technicians.”

Sadao turns in his chair towards the artificial window, projecting a beautiful mountain view, and his project-images turn with his sight. Still processing the information before him, he says in a harsh tone, “Is there anything else, Mr. Kiro?”

The young advisor hesitates. “The subject, as well as the data retrieved for us, are highly delicate, Mr. Ineko Sadao. Should we not transfer both to a more secure location, immediately?”

Sadao presses his eyelids together to suppress the urge to sigh. These young advisors – they know their job well, are very good with numbers. But they don’t know, how real business works. Not the kind of business, that really matters. The kind of business, Ineko Sadao perfected. The shadow business.

“Kiro,” it sounds harsh from behind the chair, “Our competitors surely know about the data already. The word-of-mouth spreads fast in the shadows. We are best advised to play this one by their rules, not the protocol, you are familiar with.”

Sadao takes a deep breath and says slowly, with precise enunciation, “Just – do – as – I – say – Understood?”

“Yes, Mr. Ineko Sadao. My apologies. This would be all.” Embarrassed, the young advisor turns around, swallowing his pride and hiding his upcoming anger professionally.

If we make it look like it has been stolen from us, Sadao thinks to confirm his plan to himself, nobody will be looking at our business, leaving us all the freedom in the world to deal with the matter.

A new window opens in his AR view. A direct security feed from the main security-hub of SmartSPACE Software & Community Design, CAS, just as he requested. The camera link shows an intruder, hardwired into the mainframe C14-1 and downloading the package. A dialog appears in bold, red letters.

Security breach on level 3. Defense System loaded // Engage Alarm >> run IC-protocol >> ready security on all stations // <ENGAGE/CANCEL>

The next step in Sadao’s plan. Excellent, the Japanese man smiles. Data-laundry.

He opens another window and starts a voice-only call to Seattle, loading his voice changer utility and spoofing tools. A southern England accent accepts the call on the other end. “Badger’s office?”

“This is Mr. Satou,” Sadao replies, “The promised payment will be wired in the agreed methods over the next 31 days. Five hundred thousand nuyen, plus your personal incentive. I appreciate your business, Mr. Badger.”

Sadao hangs up and waves his virtual hand over the alarm-dialog.


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